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They where all done by Jeppe, who is teaching at the drawing academy(he might be unemployed at the moment, they have too many good teachers at that place...)
Here's some older, but very interesting studies. The floating skeletons are by Daniel Huntington, a Hudson River School painter. Also, Italian work from the 1500/1600s
Great stuff!! Thanks!! What book is that from?
Here are some recent drawings from the Bulgaria fine art school - (www.nha.bg/en)
I know it now looks as if they teach "modernism" - I'm pretty sure they teach the classic stuff as well. Modernism is now a sad trend in the old communist state academies.
I found some more Russian academical drawings!!
At this place (there are a lot) -
They are on sale - wouldn't be a bad investment!
These are amazing stuff. I didnt know bulgaria has such a lineage of classical art. I have always been in awe of the Russian Academic artists like repin and fechin. I dont really know many artists beyond them and their really hard to pronounced names isnt helping haa.. I have one chinese book on russian drawings but i really have no idea how to translate the chinese names. These books are really hard to find but i believe china has alot of books on russian artists.
Anyway, thanks for all the gorgeous pictures and please keep it coming.
"Choose only one master.. Nature. " Rembrandt
"The only time I feel alive is when I'm painting." Van Gogh
My Fine Art Journey - Feel Free to come in and take a look !!
Sketchbook - Less Update !!
My Art Blog
hummel1dane: thanks for posting these are you sure these are Bulgarian drawings though? I've seen most of these before, and it is my understanding that they're part of a drawing book published in the USSR in 1957.
You can find it all here
Most of the former Soviet states have at least decent academic training, although it has started to die out in some quarters. I think the Lithuanian academy in Vilnius still has some good drawing standards, as do the academies in Armenia.
Anyway, to contribute more to this thread, here are some later 19th century, very optical figure drawings by good Ol' Fortuny.
Also, some assorted Russian drawings from my hard drive...some are older, some are from the 40s and 50s.
Belousov in the 30s
Orest Kripensky, amazing...
Hmmm, this Surikov fellow has Moscow's academy named after him...I guess he's ok
Also some work from the old South Kensington schools, like the Slade and the Norwich school, in Britain at the time that Alfred Munnings was a student.
Munnings' first study at Julians
Eakins at the Pennsylvania Academy...note that there is NO sight size
ALLLLSO, if anyone is interested in the form of impressionism that flourished under the soviet system, check out this site http://www.leningradschool.com/
there are some great, light-filled paintings in there. I think you have to go to the sidebar and click exhibitions or search artists to see it.
Thanks man - about the Bulgarian drawings - I'd assume they are Bulgarian, I got them from a guy at Angel art school who studied a bit at the school in Sofia, he told me they are from his school.
It is possible the school in Sofia acquired some original russian masterdrawings as examples. But many academical drawings look similar.
Oh yes - checked the link - it says drawings from leading soviet schools - the academy in Sofia were one of those, so at least some of the drawings are probably from Sofia.
I can ask the person who gave them to me
Last edited by hummel1dane; June 18th, 2009 at 01:41 AM.
A lot of these drawings were done by Mads Peter who now teaches at "the drawing academy"
The last one is a 3 hour portrait(more or less) done by Artem - who is the head instructor at "the drawing academy"
Artem studied with Boris for many years, then graduated at the Repin and moved to Denmark to teach.
[Edit] : Artem graduated at the Mukhina academy, the other big skt. Petersburg academy. Sorry for the mistake.
Last edited by hummel1dane; January 31st, 2010 at 04:43 PM.
Good thread btw, I'm very impressed by some of the drawings posted.
What I am largely noticing is that people in general and in this thread seem to make a distinction between these 2 approaches (optical-sculptural, realist-construction) but do not question 1. whether those attributions are actually correct in their own sense and 2. whether there are teachings that do combine both approaches effectively. With the latter I'm thinking first and foremost about Ted Seth Jacobs. I'm not sure why exactly he is so often overlooked.
Can the method used in for example the Florence ateliers rightfully be called 'visual' or 'optical' ? How you describe it seems quite correct but are those methods not in a way formulaic with a strong bias towards a classical, idealized aesthetic? (form in the shadow is heavily suppressed and flattened for example) Not really true to the 'optical' world per se? Does the lack of structure add to this observation? If not enough structural information is present then it doesn't look quite real, it goes hand in hand, as you said so yourself.
But, can the same not be said about many schools that focus on anatomy/construction? Are the simplified geometric forms to conceive and generalize a human body structurally true to human form? Or true to how we perceive it? Does the encyclopedic knowledge of human anatomy help our level of draftsmanship or does it ingrain another set of symbols that prevent us from seeing the uniqueness of the individual under very specific and unique circumstances?
I totally agree that students after committing themselves to their training should question what they learned. This is the only way to build upon what is already there. At the same time being able to do so may prove to be quite difficult. We often defend our teachers and the methods we have made our own. Dirty old cognitive dissonance is in the way again! And it is understandable.
When I asked Ted a while ago what he felt for him was the most challenging thing about painting he replied: "... Putting in more and more structural information without losing the unifying actions of light within the whole visual field" This very much rings with the initial concerns and observation expressed in this thread.Ted Jacobs built upon what he had received and came up with a set of ideas that combine both approaches, yet presented in a very different manner. For example 'structure' is not explained by anatomical or geometric descriptions but rather presented in a way so that it is not limited to human or animal form but can apply to all organic form ( humans, animals, plants, flowers, trees, mountains, drapery, etc etc... ). And it can be used to identify forms to an almost granular level where they become un-identifiable by anatomical names.
Here's a link to a couple of pages on the ARC website of his book on structure that is waiting to be released but has experienced some delay recently : http://www.artrenewal.org/articles/2002/Dictionary/form1.asp
excellent post, very informative ... but yet to be concluded..
from what I can gather the Art Students League is the place you consider to combine both approaches, and offer a more rounded education..?
A contemporary artist who work well with light and structure is Michael Grimaldi, and the Janus Collaborative School of Art where he teaches seems to offer a very diverse curriculum, ticking all boxes mentioned in the thread.
'- Linear Perspective
- Constructive Anatomy
- Structural Drawing I : the application of perspective and anatomy to the expression of the human figure
- Structural Drawing II : the study of movement, rhythm and the effects of gesture on anatomical structure
- Analysis of Light Phenomena
- Color Theory
- Elements of Design and Composition (theoretical and practical)
- Short Pose Drawing and Painting
- Methods and Materials
It's curious to compare the Academy figure studies of an artist such as Degas/ or even Sargeant to those at schools where sight size is taught today worldwide. I personally find a lot more (optical) truth and structure in these drawings completed over a century ago.
(sorry to lack supporting images can anybody help by posting the student drawings of degas or jss?)
A major difference in Art education compared to then and now is the attention paid to anatomy within our figurative art schools. Have a look through 'Figure du Corps' - review available on this website http://www.beardedroman.com/?p=447
From what I have heard, The Florence Academy of Art offers no tuition in quicker drawing at all! Focusing only on LONG poses and cast drawing.
Personally, I am finding Robert Beverly Hale's Drawing With The Master and Terrence Coyle's Anatomy with the Masters really helpful..as well as Burne Hogarth's Dynamic Anatomy, and all Bridgeman very very helpful
also.. just found this drawing http://www.bacaa.org/uploaded_images/Chris-756191.jpg
may be Dan Thomspon...brilliant.
great drawings on this page
and augustus john's are also brillaint
sorry if i am making no sense, have a cold and am pretty tired!
Tom,Can the method used in for example the Florence ateliers rightfully be called 'visual' or 'optical' ? How you describe it seems quite correct but are those methods not in a way formulaic with a strong bias towards a classical, idealized aesthetic? (form in the shadow is heavily suppressed and flattened for example) Not really true to the 'optical' world per se? Does the lack of structure add to this observation? If not enough structural information is present then it doesn't look quite real, it goes hand in hand, as you said so yourself.
It is optical in the sense that it is predicated on copying the visual field (the image on the retina caused by the light rays), as a set of two dimensional shapes, not necessarily because it presents information exactly as our eye sees it. It can look real because it copies the visual evidence of structure, my problem with it is that said structure if often not properly understood.
Moreover, the ateliers are far from what I would consider "classical", and if the surface is in fact simplified, I don't think it has to do with an aesthetic appreciation for a certain ideal. The simplifications one often encounters in work done from the optical point of view are often done in the interest of preserving the unity of the impression, or the big effect.
Moreover, art is art, not real life. All manners of painting have relied on conventions of some kind or another...even the most naturalistic interpretations of nature, and these are conventions that we accept.
The things we paint and draw ARE in fact, symbols, although they are very sophisticated ones at that. This has to do with the notion that art is a means of communication, and the representation of reality is of service to art insofar as the intended message is conveyed. Having an understanding of anatomy does not entail that every figure would be drawn in exactly the same way, every time. Just because we understand that we each have a nose, with the same basic structures, does not mean that we think all noses look exactly the same. The simple forms are useful because humans make extensive use of analogical thinking...we understand difficult concepts in terms of simpler ones.
I didn't include Ted's approach in the discussion, because it doesn't have as much in the way of historical background as the other approaches do. There is evidence of geometric constructive approaches to drawing dating to the 1500s (Holbein comes to mind), gestural, anatomical drawings that do not show explicit use of geometric forms go back even further (Michelangelo). Optical drawings with an intensive focus on the visual field go back to at least the 1830s.
I think Ted's teaching is admirable in the sense that he has tried to combine both approaches. However, I am uncomfortable with any method that is so wholly guided the by one man's vision and particular inclinations. Even though he and his students claim to reject all manner of formulas and conventions...drawings from that school have a sort of lumpy look that is the result of looking for so many subforms. I would counter that students would be looking for subforms of this kind even when they can barely see them...so a way of seeing is being imposed subconsciously as well. The biggest drawback is that it leads to an obsessive preoccupation with the surface and sacrifices broadness of vision (which was much valued by the Ecole, and later by Dumond. It is my understanding this was one of the theories that Ted discarded later on)
That being said, I think he has produced many good draftsmen, but I think you're setting up his approach as somehow superior to the others (i.e. the other two approaches are formulaic, this one isn't) when that is not necessarily true. I mean, understand the desire to expand the vocabulary of art, and not just rehash the same kind of work done before. However (at least for my taste) the vocabulary of art became as perfect as I would like it to be a long time ago. On a purely personal note, I think our time is better spent trying to express new messages with the existing tools....because I firmly believe the communication part of it is the important bit.
I'm often a little hesitant to reply when Ted is discussed because those discussions have the tendency to gather a lot of heat.. and also because I don't want to distract too much from the original topic in this instance.
But I do want to say that 'broadness of vision' is definitely not something that Ted discarded. In fact it is an extremely important aspect! Refer to the quote again that I posted.
It is what is often referred too as 'the effect' that he discarded. A typical 19th century method of lighting your picture where the painting is treated gradually darker the further away from the intended focal point. Bouguereau's 'Venus' painting is an example. Basically a compositional tool. Another way of guiding the viewer's eye.
It just does not correspond to the observed effects of light that we see in Nature, that's all.
I cant say i have much knowledge of these russian artists but I am in awe of them. I got this book on some russian drawings.. ( i assume they are.. i have no idea how to translate the chinese names to english names even though I can read the chinese characters)
Sorry for the crappy photo. I dont have a proper light setup and no scanner...
"Choose only one master.. Nature. " Rembrandt
"The only time I feel alive is when I'm painting." Van Gogh
My Fine Art Journey - Feel Free to come in and take a look !!
Sketchbook - Less Update !!
My Art Blog
Bouguereau is the ideal at Angel Academy of Art(we have reproductions of his paintings everywhere!!)
Oh yes, and "the effect" is in use at Angel Academy. As well as in the russian academies.
Do you know Ted's reasons for abandoning it? I mean, if it works, why discard it?
True to nature? - it does exist in nature, Leonardo Da Vinci was the first to report this effect in nature.
when we are working on a flat piece of paper we are in a different univers. We have to turn flatness into 3D. That's our job.
Even professional potrait photographers use multiple lightsources and blockers and other tools to control light on form so that it more resembles a portrait painting from the 16th or 17th century than anything our eyes would ever see in nature!
I agree with Ramon, I think they had a perfect academical system in the past, let's rebuild that!
but why is there no student work?
Do you have experience with that school? If so, how is their approach?
Do they start out building boxes or do they start out copying the shadow shapes?
If it was possible to see some student works, finished as well as unfinished, it would be easier to judge. (if you know the teachers, tell them to get more pictures up)
Thanks for adding it!
The exciting thing about much of the Russian work shown on this thread is the life force
and feeling in the drawings.
How can you not see the difference between artists like Velasquez, Rembrandt, and more recently, Sargent and .... Bougereau? ( I can barely get myself to mention him in the same sentence with the others.) For the life of me, I just don't get the fascination with him or his methods.
There's more real seeing and real feeling, by the way, in many of Ramon's paintings than I've seen in any Bougereau. For me, Bougereau is more of an illustrator than a painter and there are illustrator's I prefer (Rackham, for example).
I'm not talking about taste or "life-force" (let's call it gesture instead, makes more sense) I'm talking about pure academical skills.
That is -
Mastery of figure drawing(and I would say Bouguereau knew about gesture, he just prefered the more "still" symbolic/allegorical gestures, that was his usual taste)
Mastery of anatomy
Mastery of academical painting techniques - skin color, drapery, and all that technical stuff(glazing, varnish etc...)
Mastery of composition
Mastery of perspective
Mastery of foliage
Mastery of symbolic language
Mastery of realism as well as construction (he's a perfect example of someone who combines the two)
Disregard his taste, and do look at some of his compositional sketches, they have a lot of "life" (cool gestures)
And do judge him by his best works - personally I only like 20 of his paintings, and he made like 800 paintings or something.
When discussing classical fine art education, taste isn't all that important. What I mean by that - if you do not like Bouguereau but you like some other painter from his time, their classical backgrounds were very similar. So learning "to paint like bouguereau" would just mean to get his technical skills.
From there you can go anywhere, but first of all, you NEED to learn to paint like a master, any master.
Ok - I'll post some of his more dynamic work -
This painting actually recieved positive critic by a critic who usually disliked Bouguereau - positive critic for its use of dynamic figures
Nymphs and satyr
This one "Birth of Venus" is perhaps more "still" but isn't it very beautiful? And the composition - isn't it awesome!!!
Birth of Venus
What about this painting - Great composition, great gestures, great skin colors, great atmosphere, perfect anatomy, perfect feeling of forms.
Perhaps the "taste" is too romantic(but "taste" is a different debate)
If there is ANYTHING academically lacking in this painting - I would like to know.
The Wasp's Nest
I will post some of his compositional sketches later.
Last edited by hummel1dane; January 31st, 2010 at 04:54 PM.
Ah, the Nymphs and Satyr is one of my favorite paintings, along with Girl Defending herself.
Also interesting are his pencil studies
Yes Bouguereau was amazing. Even people who doesn't like his style must admit that he was an absolute master.
this place http://www.xs4all.nl/~frqnc23/framesen.html has most of his works, including pencil drawings.
I would like to know what Vilppu would say about his gestures.
Ramon, you have had Vilppu as a teacher, would you say that Bouguereau is lacking in terms of gesture?
I would agree that he was skilled and that he found the means to express his aesthetic vision. I'm curious about what you feel painting is about. I get the feeling that in an overreaction to the decline in western art, we are going too far in the opposite direction.
When all of this was beginning (in the 1980's), I drew two days a week with a group that met in John Angel's studio/school. What horrified me was that every drawing on the walls looked exactly alike. There was no way to tell one artist from another.
The point is, yes, to learn the language but the language is not ONE individual's solutions. We are now producing a bunch of B clones. If you learn the method and follow everything exactly, you'll end up with a skillful product.
And who said this is classical? It's NOT the way Michelangelo worked. It's not the way Titian worked. It's interesting that all of these artists had a profound grasp of visual language, but each person's work is individual. That's what makes it great. They are able to share their experience of the world. That's what makes great paintings different than photographs.
So much of one's journey is the search for the right process, methods and materials to express what one sees and feels about the world.
The reason I get so excited about some of Ramon's work is that some of the paintings have absolute integrity. You know that what you are seeing is free of ego, pretension, or an attempt to make a beautiful painting. He's LOOKING, feeling and recording to the best of his ability, and what comes through is very moving. Watch out that you don't remove "the very heart of the poem of life."
Last edited by Maxine Schacker; June 24th, 2009 at 09:21 AM.